An Air Force C-130J Super Hercules drops pallets of water drums near Yeoju city, South Korea, during a training exercise, June 25, 2024.

An Air Force C-130J Super Hercules drops pallets of water drums near Yeoju city, South Korea, during a training exercise, June 25, 2024. (Ericka McCammon/U.S. Air Force)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Four U.S. Air Force and one South Korean air force C-130J Super Hercules airlifters flew over the Korean Peninsula for the first five-transport aircraft sortie last month, according to an Air Force news release.

The U.S. C-130Js assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, flew to Gimhae Air Base on the southeastern coast of South Korea to load containers for a mass airdrop training mission June 25, according to the Air Force on July 1.

The cargo consisted of 600-pound water drums to simulate real-time cargo airdrops, 7th Air Force Maj. Rachel Buitrago said by phone Monday.

Photos taken by the Air Force showed airmen and South Korean combat controllers providing guidance for the aircraft at the drop zone near Yeoju city, roughly 40 miles southeast of Seoul. 

The training was “to build interoperability with the [South Korean] air force,” 36th Airlift Squadron chief of theater engagement Capt. Timothy Kim said in the release.

Interoperability is a term used by the U.S. military to describe the ability of one nation’s military to use another’s training methods and equipment.

“There are challenges to overcome, from organizational culture to language barriers,” Air Force Capt. Heejoong Kim said in the release. “These barriers can only be solved by working together and understanding each other better, enabling us to operate and execute missions effectively and efficiently as combined forces through partnership.”

The 36th Airlift Squadron last year worked with the South Korean air force to deliver humanitarian aid to Micronesian Islanders during Operation Christmas Drop, a massive airdrop exercise using transport aircraft from the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Canada, according to the release.

The C-130J is used by the Air Force to transport oversized equipment, such as large pallets, helicopters and armored vehicles. The aircraft can airdrop up to 42,000 pounds and its four Rolls-Royce engines can bring it to a top speed of roughly 410 miles per hour.

An Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider, the gunship variant of the C-130 platform, assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron out of Hurlburt Field, Fla., flew to Osan Air Base in South Korea for aerial drills and gunnery training last month.

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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